Parque Nacional Península de Paria

I arrive in Güiria by taxi (por puesto) a Thursday in mid-July, 1997. When I have found myself a hotel room, I start to ask around for information about the national park. I ask at the hotel, I locate the tour & travel company identified in my LP guide and ask them, I ask several other persons. But almost all of them just stare blankly at me. "Un parque nacional?", they say, "Aca?", and I slowly realize that I'm not going to get much information from this town. Instead I head directly for Macuro, the small town some 2 hours away by boat.

Macuro is one out of four places where Columbus set foot on the South-American continent, says Sr. Eduardo Rute[sp?] at the local museum in Macuro. All four of these places are around the Paria and Araya peninsulas.

The source of inspiration that made me come here was a TV-program. It compared the Araya peninsula with that of Paria. Situated so close to each other, yet a world apart when it comes to climate, flora and fauna. And since my interest for tropical forests have increased during these last years, I felt that a visit was required when I started to draw up my plans for Venezuela.


Map of easternmost Península de Paria.

Detailed maps of the peninsula can be bought at the Direccíon de Cartografía Nacional office in Caracas.

The national park

The park can, according to the Inparques office in Cumaná, be reached from either of Macuro, Rio Caribe, and Playa Medina. The two latter being situated on the north side of the peninsula.

More information was said to be obtainable from the local Inparques office in Campo Claro [where is this place?]. Knowledge of the park was limited in Cumaná. No printed material available. Flora and fauna should, however, contain many endemic species.

I was never able to determine the exact area covered by the park. I was told that the park border was 400 meters above sea level, presumably to allow the mining company to continue its operation without any risk of legal objections. [By the way, Venezuela is building (or will start) a pipeline across the peninsula, right through the national park!]

For the tourist, there is not that much to do in the park. A trail lets you walk through between Macuro and Uquire/San Pedro, and that's about it. You can camp in the park, if you get a permission from Inparques and bring all the equipment and food that you need. The latter is necessary since there are no facilities what-so-ever in the park.

My personal feeling is therefore that the park might have a lot to offer to the professional and to a tourist with specific interests, whereas us ordinary tourists can enjoy a few slow days in the villages along the coast but will find it harder to "discover" the real values of the park.



The village looks small when I arrive. Still, they tell me that 1800 persons live here, 2/3 of them children. People here seem to live from fishing and from the crops they grow, except for the 15 of them who work at the Mexican cement plant.

Two posadas exist. Ask for Doña Guillermina or Doña Beatriz. Both places can prepare meals for you. At Beatrizī you can cook your own food. There are a few shops selling the most basic articles.

A museum exists, but is, unfortunately, closed due to lack of funding. However, spending some time with Sr. Rute[sp?], the owner/caretaker is most rewarding. He can tell you quite a lot about the history and culture of the area, as well as many other interesting things.

Chichi is the name of the local representant for Inparques.


Uquire is a small village on the north side of the peninsula. Some 25 families live here.

I was told that there is a person who can put you up for the night. It is likely to be a hammock, possibly with a mosquito net. The same person should also be able to prepare meals for you. Try to get a recommendation from someone in Macuro.

I also heard a rumour about Uquire being a port for smuggling narcotics to, and sometimes from, Trinidad. I was therefore advised to be somewhat careful in Uquire, although I never got an impression of Uquire as a dangerous place. Quite the contrary.

Nestor is your Inparques man here.

San Pedro

No accomodation or other facilities as far as I know.

Local transport

Güiria - Macuro

Regular transportation consists of boats leaving from Macuro early in the morning (5 am), to bring local people to the market and shops in Güiria. The trip takes approximately 2 hours. They normally return at 12 o'clock. The boats are fairly large and open, and run Monday to Saturday. Prepare yourself and your luggage in case there is a risk for rain, or during windy conditions when you might be sprayed by saltwater.

Macuro - Uquire

There is a trail over the mountain and through the national park. Calculate with 5-7 hours walking, one way. In the rainy season, the track can be fairly muddy.

Local fishermen seems to travel from Uquire to Güiria and back. You may be able to hitch a ride for a reasonable price, either to Macuro or all the way to Güiria. Getting back to Uquire from Macuro is more difficult, since these boats normally don't stop by in Macuro.

Macuro - San Pedro

The same trail that winds over the mountain to Uquire can also take you to San Pedro. The turnoff is at a small place (two houses and/or families) called Los Chorros, where the left path continues to Uquire while the right one goes to San Pedro.

Boats to San Pedro is more or less out of the question, unless you want to swim and climb up the hillside.

The trail from Macuro towards Uquire and San Pedro

In Macuro, find the street with the public telephones. Continue the street north, past the small houses in rows at each side of the street. Where the houses end, the street becomes a narrow path but widens after a few minutes. Pass the balnearios, they're on your left, and cross the stream twice. Now you're back on a tiny path. Continue walking for a few minutes until you reach a house (the last one). Walk through the gate, pass the yard and cross the stream a third time. Proceed through the banana plantation. Just after passing under the water pipe (it's up in the air), the path turns 90 degrees to the left. From here the path follows close to the water pipe until, after a few hundred yards, you pass the stream for the fourth and last time.

Once you've come across the stream, it's difficult to get lost. It's only a single path and it starts climbing the steep hill. It takes a lot of groaning and moaning as you ascend the mountain, but finally the path levels off (even slightly downhill in some places). Here the path turns somewhat towards the east (or at least to your right ;-) In one place up here, the path splits. The right path goes just beyond the trees to an old hut. Thus, keep to your left. After yet some time of more or less level walking the path starts climbing again. This time for the final stretch on your way to the highest part of your hike. The cloud forest up here is beautiful. Keep an eye open for the crabs that live here!

I turned around to go back to Macuro when I was half way down to Los Chorros. The rest of the trail is therefore unknown to me, but should not be difficult to find, according to the people I spoke to in Macuro.

© 1997 by Lars Fälting
Last updated 9 Sep 1997
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